9 of the Best Bookstores in Philadelphia

Whether you’re in the market for new or used books, Philadelphia has no shortage of charming local bookstores to visit. These amazing shops are chock-full of new favorites, old classics, cookbooks, records, and more. So don’t wait! Show your support for one (or all) of these local gems online or in person.


A Novel Idea on Passyunk

This stylish South Philadelphia bookstore makes the extra effort to highlight local authors and publishers. The community-minded gem is run by Alexander Schneider and Christina Rosso-Schneider, who are devoted to fostering a diverse, inclusive space where folks can fall in love with new books and rediscover old favorites. 


Head House Books

This highly curated and stimulating bookstore is nestled between Society Hill and Queen Village. Serving the community since 2005, Head House keeps a limited stock selected to help visitors enjoy the process of discovery, from browsing the shelves to taking your book home. And if that doesn’t have your brain buzzing enough, check out their events page to stay up-to-date on Heaed House’s many readings and author events. 



This locally loved bookshop in the Fairmount neighborhood is known for its amazing selection of used books. Its cave-like layout will leave you browsing for hours. And don’t forget to pop upstairs to explore their cozy seating options and possibly meet the two fluffy resident cats. 


Brickbat Books

This Queen Village bookshop buys and sells books and records. Despite the shop’s small size, visitors are sure to find high-quality cookbooks, art books, literature, and even some music. Don’t forget to peruse their Instagram for upcoming concerts and readings in this intimate space.  


Harriett’s Bookshop

Named after Harriet Tubman, this beautiful bookshop celebrates black women authors, artists, and activists. Despite opening just a week before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the store has secured a place in the community’s heart.


Making Worlds Cooperative Bookstore & Social Center

BIPOC readers to the front! Making Worlds is a collectively run, self-managed nonprofit. Located in West Philadelphia, this bookstore and social center aims to foster a vibrant cultural programming space through diverse political and cultural education initiatives. 


Molly’s Books & Records

Located in the historic Italian Market, this bookstore is known as one of the best cookbook retailers in Philadelphia. Managed by third-generation bookseller and poet Molly Russakoff, the store stocks solely secondhand titles. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find what you’re looking for. This dense and thoughtfully curated shop is sure to delight anyone who steps inside. 


Big Blue Marble Bookstore

Big Blue Marble has been serving the Mount Airy neighborhood since 2005. This heartwarming bookstore aims to be a reflection of its community: racially and economically diverse, politically engaged, funny, and full of love. In addition to a beautiful stock of books, the Big Blue Marble has a newly renovated reading room to host inspiring and engaging events


The Last Word Bookshop

Located on the central 40th corridor, this bookshop serves the community and UPenn students alike. This shop stocks used books in every genre and boasts a friendly staff to help you sort through them all. Plus, it’s open late (until 10 p.m.!) for those night owls looking for an evening read.